First Serious Crime Prevention Order in Wales given to persistent drug dealer

14/05/2010

Paul Richards, aged 51, was today the first person in Wales to be made the subject of a Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO).

SCPOs are intended for use against those involved in serious crime and the purpose of their terms is to protect the public by preventing, restricting or disrupting involvement in serious crime.

Richards, of Bryntirion, Ynysboeth, Mountain Ash was convicted at Newport Crown Court for Conspiring to Supply Class A drugs, namely 3.58kg of cocaine, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

During sentencing, the Judge also granted the serious crime prevention order (SCPO), which lasts for five years after Richards' release from prison, in order to disrupt any future criminality. The order limits Richards' use of telecommunication devices and stipulates other restrictions including limits on his ownership of motor vehicles. Any breach of the order is a criminal offence and carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or unlimited fine.

The SCPO was created by Part 1 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 and is a civil order aimed at preventing serious crime. They are made on application to either the High Court or, as in this case, the Crown Court upon conviction. Breach of the order is a criminal offence.

CPS Crown Advocate Jason Howells, commented:

"This ruling represents something of a landmark, in that it is the first time an SCPO has been successfully applied for in Wales. 

"The Order is intended to prevent Richards from being able to orchestrate criminal activity after serving his custodial sentence. We are confident that this is the right approach to help to address the issue of his persistent and serious criminal activity.

"CPS staff, especially the caseworker, worked closely alongside counsel and our Gwent police colleagues throughout the investigation and prosecution process. Today's sentence and the granting of the Order is testament to the hard work of all those involved.

"As this is the first time an SCPO has been granted locally, we will be keen to assess its effectiveness in helping to deal with this type of criminality."

Detective Inspector Paul Evans of Gwent Police, added:

"I am delighted that this investigation has stopped a significant amount of drugs from being supplied in Gwent. The sentence reflects the persistent nature of Richards' criminality and keeps this dangerous individual off the streets for a lengthy period.

"The granting of the SCPO which we applied for in conjunction with the CPS is intended to prevent and restrict any future involvement in serious crime and the fact that it's the first of its kind demonstrates the seriousness of his criminality.

"Organised criminals who deal in drugs should expect to be caught and go to prison for a long time. We will not tolerate those who bring misery to our neighbourhoods by engaging in criminality. I would urge anyone who has any information about any drug-related criminality in their area to contact Gwent Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. We can then take positive action, which as we have seen today with this sentence can make a real difference."

 Find out more about Serious Crime Prevention Orders.